Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Wonderful adventure

    This was a marvellous trip and a great way of seeing two wonderful areas of the Arctic. In Spitsbergen we saw polar bears and arctic foxes and sailed through the ice to reach 80 degrees north. In Greenland we saw musk oxen and puffins and the most amazing icebergs. We also visited an Inuit community and had the occasional whale sighting. The ship was great - the Ocean Adventurer. The cabin was comfortable and the food was really good. The operator was first class. We had a great tour leader and a full range of specialist guides, i.e. geologist, ornithologist, photographer, marine biologist etc. They were professional and great fun. the other guests were good company. We had four days around Spitzbergen and four days around Greenland so we were able to get a sense of both rather than concentrating on just one. So polar bears AND icebergs! You don't actually get to see Iceland as part of the tour but you do disembark in Akureyri in north Iceland. We asked Exodus to change our flight back to the UK so we could arrange seven days there. We then drove from Akureyri to Keflavic along the Icelandic ring road seeing the major sights. The waterfalls are truly amazing. Greenland is actually icy and Iceland is green. So we had polar bears, icebergs and waterfalls in a three-week trip. Note: to get to Spitzbergen you fly via Oslo. Exodus brought forward our flight and booked us into a hotel for two nights so we had a short city break as well. There are some great museums in Oslo (Munch, Viking Long Ship and the Fram Museum of Arctic Exploration) and this was a great start to our Arctic journey of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    To see a polar bear jumping and swimming from ice-flow to ice-flow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The expedition and ship staff were all first class. The operator was very professional and we be very happy to travel again with them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above - the trip covers Spitzbergen and Greenland - you need to make additional arrangements to see Iceland otherwise you just fly from Akureyri to Keflavic for the flight home..

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We'd already been to Antarctica. We found the artic different. No penguins of course but we had polar bears, arctic foxes, musk oxen and puffins - and visiting the Inuit village.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Paul Sanders

    Fabulous.

    An absolutely excellent trip and a great way to see three countries in two weeks. There was a real mix of cycling, from rough, tough, dirty stuff, to long smooth straights as well as everything in between (it's essentially a road trip though). A few hills were quite demanding (not least in the heat), so the gravity downhill afterwards was welcome! There was some stunning scenery and it's pretty green and lush everywhere. Beyond the cycling, the other activities added to the sense of holiday, while also giving greater insight into what each country has to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the cycling was excellent and just the right level. Peering into the Masaya volcano was a lifetime moment and the visit to the school in Nicaragua really resonated.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was excellent on every level. From leading the front riders to congratulating those for whom rides were a bigger challenge, he was personable and professional with everyone. Morning briefings were helpful to all, outlining how each day would work, from the cycling to ordering food in advance etc. etc.. Every day ran smoothly and organisation was excellent. His knowledge and experience showed and nothing was too much trouble. What could possibly go wrong?

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go. Have a change of (cycling and/or casual) clothes in a rucksack on the bus. Be prepared for very flexible lunchtimes (there are always snacks available).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Highly recommended. Pura vida!!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    John Orton

    ?

    Great challenging trip but one that's well achievable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the optional extra peaks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Rouna Ali

    Rouna's Silk Road

    This is a truly spectacular once in a lifetime trip which I will never forget. I would never have been able to travel to such and so many places in the time available if it weren't for Exodus. The contrast between the three 'Stans' Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan is infinitely fascinating. The hot deserts, magnificent Muslim architecture, Madrashahs, Mausoleums, Markets and magnanimous hearts of the people of Uzbekistan to the epic mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and awesome pride and grace of the people of Kyrgyzstan (especially the Eagle Hunters which is only one of many highlights on this trip).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    1. Registan Square in Samarkand in my view is more beautiful and epic than the Taj Mahal. 2. During the Eagle hunting demonstration in Kyrgyzstan I almost cried as the eagle flew above and swooped down in front of me to catch the coyote skin!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both group leaders (one for Uzbekistan) and (one for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) did their very best for us and Ali bent over backwards to help me in Bukhara when I had a bout of 'Bukhara belly' :0

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You might laugh but I regret not taking small bottles of salt and pepper and chilli sauce with me because the food will cause you problems. Take plenty of Immodium and Dioralyte. In Uzbekistan especially they try to put on the menu what Westerners will like and I did not like it at all. Sometimes the food ingredients were really old, not cooked properly or under hygienic conditions and tasted extremely bland. It can take forever to sort out the bill if you eat in a large group. Before you travel I would look at the trip notes and where the hotels are then do your own pre-trip research using google maps and trip advisor to see where all the good restaurants are near to these hotels.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Tony McNulty

    Ticked all the boxes for an active week of walking in fabulous scenery

    It's a week since my partner and I returned from this trip, we had an excellent time and would recommend this trip! .Originally a key factor in choosing this trip was the flexibility to choose different levels of walk each day as we were not totally confident on what would be suited to us and this turned out to be really great option. Each evening the guides Paul and Louise would outline the following days walks so everyone had a good idea and could choose accordingly and many did switch between the levels during the days. The guides were excellent, knowledgeable on the area, animals and fauna but most importantly full of energy and very supportive to everyone in the group, they made the trip a real pleasure. The location is very scenic even before walking up the hills and the Accomodation was spacious, staff were friendly and good food every evening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching some of the summits particularly on the Friday which had amazing views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was very attentive to the group and incredibly knowledgeable on the plants and animals and shared plenty of information during the walks. The atmosphere was always friendly and supportive and overall organisation was excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring suncreme and rain gear - weather was super changeable... Don't be afraid of Level 5, we ended up doing the level 5 walks most of the days. Take the old steam train down to Jenbach on the rest day, it's quite an experience
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Tom King

    A Brilliant Week of Hiking!

    This was great trip - we continually had spectacular views of the Mont Blanc massif and the surrounding area. There was a relatively consistent amount of trekking each day but it never felt like a chore. The hiking routes were well thought out and you were never too far from a mountain coffee shop for a well deserved rest. Our guide Egle was excellent and really made the holiday a lot of fun!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to choose just one but the passes over from Switzerland to Italy and then Italy into France were phenomenal. The last day hiking around the Chamonix valley was also amazing with clear views of Mont Blanc.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Spending a week with Egle was a real treat. She was knowledgeable, fun and looked after the group brilliantly. She really made the holiday and brought the group together. 10 out of 10.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Plan to make your hiking bag as light as possible, its weight will make real difference to the enjoyment of the hiking. You also do not need to carry gallons of water - there are fairly regular opportunities to refill each day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The breakfast buffets provide a great opportunity to make a nice lunch but I'd recommend bringing some snacks along from home as there are not a lot of opportunities for food shopping.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Jill Haydock

    Go and experience Uzbekistan

    An amazing trip if you’re interested in Early to modern civilisation, beautiful architecture and a country rediscovering its heritage and crafts. The people are very welcoming, dress code is relaxed and beer or wine is always an option at mealtimes. It’s a country worth seeing now.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The unexpected ‘wild swim’ in the lake and visiting the beautiful Shah-I-Zinda on the day families were celebrating Eid are both magical memories.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely fantastic! Dilshod’s knowledge of ancient and modern history, the architecture, crafts and culture in each city was phenomenal; and his willingness to share his own stories of recent history put this trip right up with the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have a problem with pillows try and take your own travel pillow!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have the yurt stay a little more remote from parked cars, coaches and motorbikes! I was woken by a motorbike starting up!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Stephanie Braithwaite

    Nicaragua Costa Rica and Panama Cycling

    The whole experience was truly fantastic, the organisation was brilliant as was Roberto the leader and all the staff. It far exceeded our expectations and I could not rate it highly enough.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting a Volcano in Nicaragua and seeing molten magma

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was brilliant he was knowledgeable, kind and great company a teal credit to the company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I could not recommend this whole experience more highly. We have never travelled with exodus before but would certainly do so again. It was brilliant from start to finish Thank you
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Susanna Buckley

    Wonderful family holiday

    A busy but well organised trip. This was the first time we'd done a trip like this and we don't regret it. We saw so much in the 14 days - I don't think we could have done and seen so much if we'd organised it on our own. Our two children (16 and 18 years old) had a great time. They made friends with the other young people on the trip and this made it easier and enjoyable for everyone. Everything was organised in a family friendly way and the guides were excellent. It was also good to see the way local communities can be supported by responsible travel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say - so many lovely memories. The sampan trip on the Mekong Delta and the stay at the homestay were great. The trip to Angkor Wat was amazing - the scale of the place is breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 leaders - one in Vietnam and one for Cambodia and Bangkok. Both were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need Vietnamese Dong for Vietnam. In Cambodia you can use US Dollars but sometimes it's easier to use Cambodian Riels. ATMs in Cambodia dispense US Dollars and Riels. For Thailand, you'll need Thai Bhat (our guide stopped just before the Thai border so that we could exchange). For visas, you need to pay cash in US Dollars. We found that we needed mainly cash - some of the restaurants didn't accept cards or some places (eg supermarkets) have a minimum spend before using a card and, if you only want a drink, that doesn't come to the minimum spend. Also, if you want to buy in the markets, you'll need cash. There were ATMs near all the places we stayed (except Mekong Delta). Pack light, cotton clothing, you don't really need activewear/trekking wear. There are local laundry services available in Cambodia - around USD2or3 per kg.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wonderful holiday, wonderful memories. Everyone in the family had a great time.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    LESLEY CARD

    Great walks with stunning views

    Thoroughly enjoyed this trip. You will need to be reasonably fit as each day has some long steady ups and downs but the views from the high spots are well worth the effort. The walks were paced to suit the ability of the group and the food served each day, by Liz and Clare, was excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the high spots with time to sit and enjoying the views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Lotte was exceptional. Keeping us all together and pacing the walks to suit the ability of the group. She was well informed and knew a lot about the geography of local area. Her descriptions of the next days walks were accurate and informative. A very good leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you are fit enough to walk continually up hill for a couple of hours and be prepared for any weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Its just a great holiday but you must be able to enjoy being part of a group
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